The Korea Herald


Fashion designer Martin Margiela returns to Seoul as artist

By Park Yuna

Published : Dec. 26, 2022 - 17:37

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"Hair Portraits" by Martin Margiela (Courtesy of RAF SIMONS COLLECTION, Belgium, "Martin Margiela at M WOODS")

Fashion designer Martin Margiela of French luxury fashion house Maison Margiela is holding his first exhibition in Seoul -- and third overall -- showcasing his creativity beyond the catwalk.

The self-titled exhibition that opened Friday showcases some 50 works by the designer and artist. Goo Hye-jin, director of exhibition business, and the exhibition team prepared the show for a year after she learned the designer had opened his first solo show at Lafayette Anticipations in Paris in 2021. His works were later shown at M Woods in Beijing.

Having rarely revealed himself to the public, the Belgium designer did not make it to the city for the exhibition. The mysterious designer curated the space at Lotte Museum of Art that appears as something like a mirror. The designer communicated with the team in Seoul in real time, according to the museum.

The show is worth a visit for those curious as to what the star designer has been up to since walking away from the fashion industry. It will also be a chance to see how his creativity is channeled beyond the runway.

For those who expect to see detail descriptions of each work and the artist, the exhibition may seem “unfriendly." Only basic information about the show is shown at the entrance, leaving it up to the visitors to interpret the art.

"Torso Series" by Martin Margiela (Courtesy of the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp)

It is interesting to feel the artworks intuitively, exploring the labyrinth-like exhibition space. Audio guides are available and an on-site docent program will be provided at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays.

Performances accompanying some of the works take place daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., with the museum staff covering or uncovering the art, including the “Torso Series” that consists of six torso-like silicon organisms in different colors.

“Margiela was a fashion designer who always experimented with new things without being constrained by custom. His experimental attempts continue in art, breaking away from the concept of an art exhibition at a museum,” Goo told The Korea Herald.

"Vanitas" Martin Margiela (Courtesy of Antwerp City Collection)

Growing up with a hairdresser father, the fashion designer created the work “Vanitas” by transplanting natural hair one by one onto silicone spheres coated with artificial skin, seemingly illustrating the cycle of human life from childhood to elderly age through hair color. The faces are concealed.

The show moves on to a different country after the Seoul run through March 26, according to the museum.

By Park Yuna (